09/30/05 — Gas prices still spiking

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Gas prices still spiking

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on September 30, 2005 1:53 PM

The wholesale price of gas this week had Judson Pope of E.J. Pope & Son in Mount Olive shaking his head.

Pope is one of Wayne County's major fuel distributors. He said he is finding wide disparities between the prices he sees on various stations' marquees when he delivers to area convenience stores.

Gas prices around Goldsboro have risen about 20 cents in the past two days, but Pope said he believes prices will go up again over the next two or three weeks.

"It's beyond crazy right now," he said. "I'm stunned. I've never seen price changes and escalations like this before."

Unleaded regular was selling for about $3.09 per gallon at most stations around the city early today. Premium prices reflected the usual 10-20 cent per gallon higher cost.

In an unusual move, the price of diesel fuel had risen at a number of stations to 30 cents or more than regular gasoline. Diesel fuel was $3.49 per gallon at the Chevron station on U.S. 117 North, where the price of unleaded regular was $3.10 and premium was $3.30. At a Kangaroo station a few hundred yards away, diesel fuel was $3.29 and unleaded regular was $3.10. At the Solo station on U.S. 117 South, diesel fuel was $3.39 per gallon while unleaded was $3.08.

The lowest price for unleaded regular around the Wayne County was $2.96 at the E-Z Mart on U.S. 117 South. It was $2.97 at the Hess/Wilco station on U.S. 117 South, near the intersection with George Street.

At the Handy Mart west of Goldsboro, at the intersection of U.S. 70 and N.C. 581, unleaded regular was $3.09. The same was true at the Handy Mart east of Goldsboro, at the intersection of U.S. 70 and Beston Road.

On North Berkeley Boulevard, prices at the Comco station had shot up to $3.79 per gallon for unleaded regular on Thursday afternoon. But they had dropped to $3.09 per gallon by early today. Across the street, at the Chevron station, the price for unleaded regular remained $3.10 per gallon.

Pope said when he picks up gas to sell gas to the convenience stores, his suppliers are telling him that they have plenty of fuel in reserve. But four major refineries in the Gulf of Mexico were still down from Hurricane Katrina, and there are several others damaged by Hurricane Rita, he said.

Pope said he knows the Port Arthur terminal is down, and with that much off the market, shortages are going to occur.

The other major suppliers of gasoline in Wayne County, John Strickland of Strickland Oil, and Dillon Wooten of Wooten Oil Co., were not available for comment today on the gas-price situation in Wayne County.

The American Petroleum Institute said more than 30 refineries in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi were in the path of the two hurricanes. The institute's Web site said the nation was without 22.9 percent of its refineries after those in Corpus Christi and San Antonio went back on-line Wednesday, a reduction from 23.4 percent of the refineries that were not producing as of Tuesday.

Industry sources say Exxon-Mobile is the No.1 refiner of petroleum, followed by Chevron and then Conoco.